Once Upon a Time in Mexico…

Kim Hayashi, Keiro Staff Member

We’ve all heard the warnings and the terror of Montezuma’s Revenge…but also the potential for dehydration and heatstroke when traveling to warm climates. For Mexico, the best advice was to stay away from water, but make sure to stay hydrated…what a contradiction!    

A few years ago when I had the pleasure of traveling to Los Cabos, Mexico for a friend’s wedding I got to test this contradiction. I’m happy to say that on my trip I did not get Montezuma’s Revenge and I did manage to stay away from the local water. Or so I thought! On our last night there, on my way out to dinner, I forgot something in the hotel room. When I ran back, all of a sudden I felt strange and thought I should go to the bathroom. Without as much of an inkling that I was going to, I immediately began to throw up!  This continued every 30 minutes for many hours. Unable to drink or eat anything without it coming back up, I sat miserably on the couch. After what seemed like the 100th time I had thrown up, I began to get scared and asked my boyfriend to check my health insurance card for a number to call. He called and the next thing I knew, there was a nurse in my hotel room. She gave me a shot and instantaneously I began to feel a little better. The throwing up ceased and I could finally drink some Gatorade and eat a cracker! 

Though I still do not know what happened to me, a multitude of opinions have been given. I was dehydrated…I had heat exhaustion or starting to see symptoms of heat stroke…I drank the water. It could have been any combination of these, but what I came to realize is that you can never be too prepared!  Being a Southern California girl who loves laying out on the beach and being out in the sun without taking a break, I never once thought about the potential consequences. With limited access to bottled water where we were, I opted for other beverages and didn’t think twice when I wanted something cold with ice! Although suntanned and having a good time, the prolonged exposure to the sun and the heat (which is much stronger in Mexico) proved to be a detriment to the rest of my trip. 
Luckily for me I was able to make it through without any major problems and it was at the end of my trip so I didn’t miss out on too much (except a delicious Mexican dinner!).  I did, however, get to take home some great lessons! 
1) Never leave home without your health insurance card!  The phone number provided proved to be my saving grace.
2) Be prepared.  Know where and what you can drink and no matter what, stay hydrated!
3) Heat Exhaustion is a sneaky devil! When spending time in the sun and heat, make sure to stay hydrated with water, but also have a good sports drink handy like Gatorade or Powerade. 
I wish you all the best in your summer travels and fun in the sun!  Hopefully my misery will help to remind you of my Mexican vacation lessons learned…
Some additional materials on Traveling and Heat Exhaustion
     –  The CDC Website for Travelers Health

     –  AARP’s article about What if I Get Sick on a Cruise?

     –  WebMD information on Heat Exhaustion


Kim Hayashi is the Community Resources Manager for the Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro.  She graduated from USC and Chapman University and enjoys being active, traveling, and Disneyland!

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

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